Interactive courses on the science behind remote sensing and an introduction to arable farming have been added to the ARTIS agricultural e-learning platform.
The industry-led agricultural training initiative provides a subscription-based online training service for arable, salad and field vegetable growers at www.artistraining.com. For an annual cost of £75 + VAT individual users gain online access to a range of accredited courses in crop husbandry and new agronomy techniques as well as regulatory and economic issues.
‘The Science behind Remote Sensing’ introduces potential and new users to the subject, covering the techniques used in precision farming including satellite, air-borne and tractor-mounted sensors, what they actually measure and how to interpret the images.
Devised by NIAB’s Bill Clark, with input from colleagues Eric Ober and John Cussans, the course covers a wide range of topics on how to use remote sensing in crop management, using a series of short video presentations. “Understanding the science will help you make the most of the technologies currently available, with information about different platforms, spectral reflectance, normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI), thermal imaging, yield forecasting and weed mapping,” says Mr Clark.
Suitable for smartphone, tablet and computer users, CPD points are also available on completion of the remote sensing course. The online course is also an ideal pre-cursor to the one-day ‘Practical approaches to precision farming’ training package from ARTIS, which covers the equipment, tools and skills utilised in precision farming as well as the benefits and drawbacks of adopting such technologies on-farm.
The second new course is the ‘The Arable Year’ - a simple non-technical introduction to the sector. “‘The Arable Year’ has been developed for those working in a support role, with no direct involvement in the practical or technical aspects, who may benefit from learning more about the industry they work in. It would also be ideally suited to new entrants without a farming background,” explains Mr Clark.
Based around the process of growing six common arable crops – wheat, barley, oilseed rape, potatoes, sugar beet and field beans - the course explores soil, rotations and crop management as well as demonstrating the role of the supply chain in farming, from crop research and development through to purchase of the product by the consumer. With a useful glossary, including definitions of key terms, the course uses a variety of videos, interactive images and resources for ongoing use, to enhance the learning experience.
With courses on wheat disease identification, cover crops and black-grass management also available to ARTIS e-learning subscribers future courses will include Wheat Disease Control, Legislation for Arable Farmers, Resilient Rotations, Barley Disease Identification, Technology in Farming Q&A and Oilseed Rape Disease Identification. The subscription service has no limits to the number of times a programme can be accessed, particularly the topic-specific toolkits and additional resources.
To sign up to the ARTIS e-learning platform, and to check the new Autumn 2015/Spring 2016 field and classroom training programme, go to www.artistraining.com.